There’s something about a charming small town that makes me smile. They’re easy to navigate, the people are friendlier and, if you’re really lucky, they can be just as beautiful as the big cities. From the winding roads to the local culinary specialties, each of these small towns had a unique aspect to them that I’ll never forget. Some of them I’ve even returned to several times! Big cities are fun but sometimes you just need a small town to quench your wanderlust.

Here are seven small towns (or small cities) that can easily compete with European heavyweights like Paris and Rome!

1. Menton

Menton is a small French town on the coastal border with Italy with candy-colored buildings stacked upon a steep hill at the base of the bay. Last summer, I rented an apartment here overlooking the orange rooftops and blue Mediterranean sea. It was absolutely divine!

If you go, you must check out the most beautiful view in Menton.

Places I'll Never Forget in Europe – Plage des Sablettes, Menton, France

2. San Sebastián

The northern basque country of Spain is home to San Sebastián, a charming little city where tourists and locals alike enjoy pintxos, the basque country version of tapas. Be sure to drink some Txakoli to wash down all the delicious small bites you’ll eat here – it’s the local specialty.

San Sebastian, Iglesia de Santa Maria

3. Arles

Arles is a wonderfully magical town in Provence, in the south of France. It’s one of the few areas of France which still holds its ancient Roman influence, including a colosseum that dates back to the 1st century! I loved strolling through the town’s small corridors between its pastel-colored buildings.


4. Biarritz

Biarritz was my first destination when I began traveling full-time. I spent one month in early summer exploring this coastal town, where surfers from around the world come to surf France’s waves. Biarritz has some of France’s most amazing sunsets, too!

Cote des Basques Biarritz

5. Ulm

Occasionally I’ll stop in a town on my way between two places. A few years ago, I was traveling from Stuttgart to Munich when I decided to make a day trip out of my trajectory. I stopped in Ulm by chance and was blown away at the quaint German town I had discovered! Ulm is straight out of a fairytale, and its cobblestone streets and gingerbread houses couldn’t have been more magical. It’s also the birthplace of Einstein!

Ulm, Germany

6. Antibes

Along the French Riviera lies Antibes, a beautiful town with towering bougainvillea, winding passageways, and medieval stone walls.

Antibes Coast, South of France

7. Perros-Guirec

I learned French in a small town in Bretagne, France’s northwestern region. The Côte de Granit Rose is especially beautiful in the summertime when the coastal pink rocks sparkle in the sunshine. Perros-Guirec and neighboring Trégastel should certainly be on your radar should you visit this part of France!

Perros-Guirec, France
Small Towns in Europe I'll Never Forget, Arles, France
Small Towns in Europe I'll Never Forget, Biarritz, France

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  1. Italy is full of these pretty small towns, it’s the country of small towns! Why didn’t you mention a single one?

    1. Hey Vanessa! Thanks for your comment. Unlike other bloggers, I don’t share photos from places I’ve never been! :) I have not traveled Italy very much, which is why I did not list any towns from there. I’m sure there are thousands of beautiful small towns in Europe that were not listed here. The post is about small towns that I personally will never forget, not a list of small towns that are generally unforgettable! What small town in Italy would you recommend I visit?


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